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LDS bishop recounts Ronnie Lee Gardner's final days before execution

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  • Muckinthemud PORTLAND, OR
    Aug. 22, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    I have found my work with those accused of crimes, very much like this Bishop, to be the most healing experiences for me in this life. I lost my father to homicide in my teen years, but never had the opportunity to talk to those involved in the crime. I have never yet shared that information with one of my clients. It has not been appropriate. However, I firmly believe that in all of our lives we need to not only face justice, but more importantly mercy.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • BASavage Vernal, UT
    July 24, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    It is interesting to hear a person like Ronnie Gardner express his remorse for what he did. I think what readers of these articles need to remember what he did to land himself on death row. RLG committed haneaous murders. The only to possibly repent is to give up his life. Through the help of this good Bishop he was ready as any murderer could be.

    It still amazes me that we still argue over the murders rights when they forcibly take the rights away from those they kill and their families, friends co-workers. Do we think that all those who committ crime should be let free because God knows their hearts and only God can judge? Capital punishment is the only appropriate way to give justice and mercy to the murderer and to those they murdered.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    July 23, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    I understand the doctrine, I am aware of the seriousness of murder, I stand with President Faust and pray for mercy instead of justice. I think if we spent more time worrying about how Christ-like we are personally and less time presuming the eternal or even temporal status of others - and take opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others rather than insisting on always learning from our own sad experience, we might all be better off.

  • Linda A Orem, UT
    July 22, 2011 9:17 p.m.

    Just curious ... are the victims getting any "media" time? I don't give a rat's patoot about what Ronnie wants.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    July 21, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    I have a friend whose son is on death row in another state. He is as good a man as you'll find, yet people somehow blame him for what his son did. Violent crime has so many victims. I'm not convinced that there is any punishment that can bring peace to everyone.

  • Time Roseburg, OR
    July 20, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    Thank you to bishop Dan for this sweet example of love, charity, compassion and service to a deeply lost son of God. Years ago in General Conference President Hinckley stated that even the most heinous of addicts and criminals can be salvaged. This is such a case. Eldridge Cleaver, leader of the Black Panthers in the 1960s is another example of the unlimited healing power of the Savior. I have also witnessed this change in other criminals I have had the priveledge to follow in prison. Many of us can learn from the sharing of these experiences. Thanks also to Ronnie for giving permission to share his story and experience with the grace of Christ.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    July 20, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    WOW! Powerful article. Bishop Dan Bradshaw fulfilled his calling and stands as a great example of the loving Bishops throughout the Church. Ronnie ruined many peoples lives. He deserved capital punishment and it sounds like Ronnie was finally realizing the hurt he caused to so many. This is a tremendous article on the power of forgiveness.

  • NightTrader Colonia, Yap, FSM
    July 20, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Powerful story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 19, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    Re: BYUCOLORADO | 4:50 p.m. July 19, 2011

    You're trying to complicate the issue. Our society elected a group of citizens to sit in judgment of this man and the crimes he was charged with. They listened to the evidence, judged him to be guilty, and voted for the death penalty.

    When it comes to forgiveness neither you or I can grant it because we personally weren't harmed by his actions ..... other than the damage he did to society. I often wonder about people who eagerly announce that they've forgiven somebody they don't even know.

    Our society sent this convicted killer home to his Maker and what happens to him after he left our jurisdiction is outside the scope of my concern.

  • Aaron the Ogre Provo, UT
    July 19, 2011 7:12 p.m.

    After reading many of the other comments, I think a few have missed what is happening within the text. RLG and an LDS Bishop shared a relationship that needs to be heard. This would make an amazing book.

    Is RLG guilty? I don't care. Is he waiting the resurecction of the damned? I don't care.

    I care about the amazing article that is presented here and the experiences of this bishop. I he transformed this into a book and published it (possibly donating all profits to charity or the victims), I would buy it. I want to know more. This story has the making of a classic in literature much like In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, but I hope without the plagarization and blatant textual barrowing.

    The story is compelling, because of how it affected the Bishop. It is compelling by the way it affected me. It's important by the potential it has to affect many who think murders/killers and other criminals are beyond forgiveness, redeption and (emotional/spiritual) rehabilitation. There is hope for the most severe of criminals and this article shows this. I want more and I hope the good bishop is willing to provide it.

  • BYUCOLORADO Castle Rock, CO
    July 19, 2011 4:50 p.m.

    RE:Rifleman
    I was anticipating someone bringing that up. I remember that conference talk where they said you must judge, and sometimes people, to ensure that you are being safe and your kids are safe too. Sometimes you may even say "I feel like that person isn't a good person to be around right now." I have made that decision in my life. I don't usually summarily dismiss people (I think we are to minister to everyone, no matter who they are. You can't minister if you can't be around them!).

    That said, we are talking about two different things (which I alluded to in my comment). There is a difference between judging an action and judging a person. Ronnie committed acts that would make anyone say he should be removed from society. That is one thing. It is another matter entirely (and this is what I was referencing) to say that he will burn in hell or anything of that nature. We have no idea what God's judgements will be for a person. We do know how certain acts are viewed by God (murder=bad). We don't know where Ronnie's final destination will be.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 19, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    People who complain about such "Mormon" comments should consider the following.

    They chose, according to their own free desire, to come to the website of a 'Mormon' owned newspaper, that has a 'Mormon' themed insert paper every week, and online has a whole section dedicated to 'Mormon' topics.

    Also, that 'Mormon' comments being found in abundance in a Utah newspaper is no different than if we all were reading a paper published by the Vatican. Catholic comments outrageous or tiresome? No, not really. Comments saying 'there are too many catholic comments' actually are the comments that people tire of.

    I would also like to point out that this article is about an LDS bishop's story.

    -----

    Now, in the friendliest way of saying this possible I will conclude with this. I often tell people that if you are uncomfortable living in Utah, why would you stay? I don't mean it rudely, only in that I would leave boston if I hated it there. If people don't like an LDS themed paper, or the comments on here... no one should feel unwelcome here, but there is another paper in Utah much less friendly to the church. We choose what we read.

  • happylife OREM, UT
    July 19, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    This story moved me deeply and reminded me again of the power and mercy of the infinite atonement. When a great wrong happened in my life, I discovered that I had been given an opportunity to learn that the only way to peace and happiness is through forgiveness of those who hurt me severely. Perhaps this virtue of forgiveness as exemplified in this story, the recent example of a forgiving Bishop whose family was killed by a drunk driver and why the forgiveness exemplified by Corrie Ten Boom, Gandi and many others is why they have such a deeply moving impact in our souls. To develop that compassion and forgiveness and even love for those who have wronged us is a great blessing and hopefully something that we all deeply admire and yearn for.

    Peace comes from this example.

    Alma 24:10 And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 19, 2011 9:35 a.m.

    Re: BYUCOLORADO | 8:26 a.m. July 19, 2011
    "Judgment is not ours."

    Everyone makes judgments about other people each and every day. The God of the Bible doesn't expect us to run around with blinders on. Diligent parents approve or disapprove of the people their children associate with. Wise parents don't want our children hanging around with drug addicts, and most of us support Megan's Laws that red flag sex offenders living among us.

  • BYUCOLORADO Castle Rock, CO
    July 19, 2011 8:26 a.m.

    Judgment is not ours. We can judge acts but we will never know the intent behind the act.

    I enjoyed reading the story. It was a great perspective. I really liked the quote by President Faust. We all pray for mercy.

    "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." We are all debtors (Matthew 18:21-35). I have heard some say, "well I don't have to extend mercy and I can judge because I have never done _____, which this person did." What a foolish statement. We are required to forgive and to be merciful. It does not matter what act people commit. Judgment is not ours. Some acts make it so people lose the privilege of living among the rest of us, and they rightfully spend the rest of their days in prison, but we are not the judges of their souls. It is required that we forgive all men.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 19, 2011 6:01 a.m.

    Re: rubycrownedkinglet | 3:14 p.m. July 18, 2011

    There are actually five categories: The fifth category are those cast judgement on categories #2, #3 and #4. They are broad minded to a fault, are quite willing to forgive a killer they've never met and are equally quick to condemn others who don't share their opinion.

    We all make this world a better place. Some because we came, and some because we got sent home early.

  • mattmo Gallatin, MO
    July 19, 2011 4:55 a.m.

    Matthew 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. I would say when ye are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God. Thanks for being an example of the believers. Great story.

  • mommynick OGDEN, UT
    July 19, 2011 2:10 a.m.

    Beautiful story. Beautiful perspective. And to those of you who think Dan Bradshaw would ever do this for his own gain, you clearly don't know the man. He is, quite possibly, the finest person I know. Thanks for sharing the story, Dan and Doug.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    July 19, 2011 1:10 a.m.

    "Moroni 7:19.

    18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged."

    I don't know how you folks that are commenting on here feel about your own positions concerning the Judgement. Personally,I know I fall far short of the perfection I see in my Saviour. I may not have murdered or committed adultery, but I am far from perfect. Do I always help the needy without any feeling of superiority, or do I always home-teach without resenting having to go out AGAIN? Do I ever smile inwardly when someone I don't like gets come-uppance? Unfortunately,the answer is not always as it should be. Do I want mercy, rather than judgement for such transgressions? I do, and therefore must forgive others, and not judge them, not even murderers. (It doesn't say "except murderers in the scripture above.) I need the Atonement in my life. Therefore, I don't feel qualified to judge Mr Gardner. I leave that to my Saviour. He is without sin.

  • Sarah B SLC, UT
    July 18, 2011 5:31 p.m.

    Alma 24:13 "Behold, I say unto you, Nay, let us retain our swords that they be not stained with the blood of our brethren; for perhaps, if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins."

    Joseph Smith also stated that the murderer cannot be redeemed until he had "paid the utmost farthing."

    so you see BH, this is what I was taught in Seminary. Not that there is a "different" Atonement, but that Christ paid the price for our sins with the exception of murder, which we will pay for ourselves. After we pay the price and repent there will be forgiveness but not exaltation. Of course, that is after murderers are judged and found to be accountable for their actions.

  • whistle219 princeton, IN
    July 18, 2011 4:51 p.m.

    Murderers areforgiven eventuallly but only in the sense that all other sins are forgiven except thesin against the Holy Ghost; they are not forgiven in the sense that celestial salvation is made available to them. (teachings,p.356-357) After they have paid the full penalty for their crime,they shall go on to a telestial inheritance(Rev.22:15)

  • whistle219 princeton, IN
    July 18, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    It has been said that there is only one unforgivable sin, the denial of the holy ghost. I woulkd say that there ia another one, an unforgiving heart. We are commanded to forgive, He will forgive who He will forgive. Remember even the smallest of sin that is not repented for separates us from recieving the full grace.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    July 18, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    This was an interesting article. While I'll refrain from commenting on whether I think Gardner's punishment was justified or not, I think it serves as a vivid example of how one person's misdeeds can affect so many people. Obviously it deeply affected the families of the victims (as well as Mr. Bradshaw.) They all had to deal with the consequences of Gardner's actions.

    But I think the real lesson in all this (for those who share Bradshaw's opinion) is that the person who ultimately suffered from Gardner's actions wasn't the impulsive young man who robbed the bar or shot the attorney, it was the arthritic remorseful man who was executed. I personally believe that people can dramatically change (but I won't speculate on whether that was the case with Mr. Gardner or not, I merely use it as an example.) People often fail to see how their actions will not only affect others, but how their own lives will be forever changed because of their choices.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    July 18, 2011 3:45 p.m.

    As one in need of repentence and forgiveness for more things in my life than I can ever possibly remember I sincerely hope for mercy from my Father in Heaven. I hope for the same for all of us.

    This story really moved me. It has given me alot to think about.

  • belted kingfisher West Valley, UT
    July 18, 2011 3:22 p.m.

    I had a brother who was treated very cruelly by my father. He struggled with alcohol, drugs and several marriages. He eventully committed suicide.

    I cannot judge him as he went through hell as a child and adolescent. He suffered emotional, verbal and physical abuse almost on a daily basis. I cannot think how different his life would have been with a supportive loving father.

    When I see criminals, I see many who had hellish childhoods and were dealt a very bad hand. They chose to do ill but it might not have been.

    I refuse to hate them, judge them and only feel empathy for them. We do not know the live they lead. Ronnie suffered from sexual abuse which is very difficult to overcome.

    I hope his family will be at peace. I hope the family's of the victim's will find peace.

  • BH Tremonton, UT
    July 18, 2011 3:19 p.m.

    John Adams quotes:
    'A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God... for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell....(Teachings, p. 339) "

    I am totally aware of this quote. I am also totally aware, and you may be also, that most LDS church prophets since have specifically avoided confirming this teaching, and have repeatedly taught that the only unforgivable sin is denying the Holy Ghost. This teaching is much more in harmony with Holy Scripture.

    John also says "It never ceases to amaze me how so many members of the Church know so little regaring Church doctrine."

    Members of the LDS church need to be much more cautious about teaching doctrine not founded in scripture or LDS doctrine. For example, one above eludes to a "different" atonement outside that of Jesus Christ. This is not only without scriptural or doctirnal foundation, but contradicts Christ's own teachings.

  • rubycrownedkinglet West Valley, UT
    July 18, 2011 3:14 p.m.

    I am amazed and stupefied by the comments on this board. They fall into four categories:

    1. Appreciative of Bradshaw; Very few of these.

    2. Argue Mormon doctine about mercy/justice and punishment for murderers and so forth. Too many comments.

    3. Outright hatred and condemnation for Ronnie.

    4. Suspicion about Mr. Bradshaw's motives.

    Thanks to all who fall into the first category. No thanks to #2 comments; this is not at all about what the articles are about. I am amazed at the vitriolic comment of the 3rd group against someone they probably had never met. And, finally, I am aghast at the 4th group.

  • belted kingfisher West Valley, UT
    July 18, 2011 2:58 p.m.

    I found the articles about Ronnie Lee Gardner and Mr. Bradshaw to be highly human and beautiful. Bradshaw is a remarkable human being. This story fully discloses the power of the human being either to be both destructive and constructive or positive and negative. Our impact in this world will be felt by those around us. Bradshaw chose to be a change agent for the betterment of the prisoners he worked with including Ronnie.

    Ronnie was very much a product of a horrible childhood but also he came to realize the harm he had commited and was truly contrite and sorrowful. His life exhibited the fact that as humans we make mistakes and we are both positive and negative.

    Thank you, Mr. Bradshaw for this compelling story of redemption.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 18, 2011 2:29 p.m.

    @John Adams,

    Even in the case of David he will eventually have forgiveness, for he is not a Son of Perdition. His sould will not be left in Hell.

    David will not enjoy exaltation, but will eventually be redeemed. The only reason we know this is because it has been revealed to Joseph Smith.

    While not 100% certain, I would wager that King David had substantially more knowledge and light than RLG when this heinous act was comitted. I have to believe that has a lot to do with his standing before God.

    While the scriptures are clear that Denying the Holy Ghost is both unpardonable and unforgiveable, it is not so clear in the case of murder. Why was Paul able to be redeemed for his actions, and not David? David was not the one who killed Uriah, only arrainged his death. Paul may not have killed anyone, but played as big a part in the killing of what he deemed to be heretics.

  • juni4ling Somewhere in Colorado, CO
    July 18, 2011 2:21 p.m.

    Manipulating manipulator manipulating.

    The stone-cold killers interactions had absolutely *nothing* to do with repentance.

    This is what it had *everything* to do with:

    (from the article) "which included new shoes, colored pencils for drawing, an additional hour out of his cell, additional phone time to take care of his personal and legal matters, and a CD player with audio versions of the scriptures. He has had no write-ups for 10 years and feels he is being treated more harshly than necessary."

    Smart move to get a powerful "leader" in the prison to start trying to "get" you stuff.

    All those things were purchased by the Utah taxpayer.

    Good job, Bishop. You got a stone-cold killer some (extra) "stuff" he wanted.

    That was the beginning and end of the killers interaction with the Bishop. Pretend an interest in the scriptures so you can get a CD player on Death-Row. Pretend an interest in the LDS Church so you can get colored pencils.

    A manipulating manipulator manipulated. Beginning and end of the story.

  • Sarah B SLC, UT
    July 18, 2011 2:17 p.m.

    I know that murder can be forgiven. I just thought it required a different process than other sins b/c of its seriousness. I also know that people will be judged righteously b/c some may have mental problems due to illness or injury that will affect their behavior. They will be judged differently than those who are evil. Personally, I don't put alot of stock in excuses like "I had a bad childhood." Lots of people have horrendous upbringings and they become responsible, law abiding citizens, in part b/c they don't want to repeat their own childhood in the lives of others. We have the ability to choose good over evil.

  • Mark C Gilbert, SC
    July 18, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    I ask myself, will this story change my attitude toward some teen who makes me upset with their behavior, enough to turn to them and be the mentor who could help save them from a similar outcome? How many young people have I "thrown to the dogs" just because I didn't care for their attitude and despised their actions? We all need to reach out with compassion and love toward our fellow travelers in this life and provide love, comfort and guidance, giving him or her a sense of self-worth and listen to their concerns. Be the compassionate mentor that could have made a difference in this story. Oh, that that one person had crossed paths with Ronnie! It is tragic that some who could have helped turned out to further abuse him and hurt his character. They will yet pay an awful price.

  • John Adams Miami, FL
    July 18, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    "In all the words of modern day LDS church leaders, the overwhelming teaching is that, there is only one unforgivable sin - denying the Holy Ghost."

    That is totally and completely false.

    "A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God... for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell....

    :This is the case with murderers. They could not be baptized for the remission of sins, for they had shed innocent blood." (Teachings, p. 339)

  • BadBob TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    July 18, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    Wow! Another criminal finding God. Forgiveness is nice. Justice is better, thank goodness the state finally did what it should of years ago. This isn't even news and shouldn't be a concern of any news media. I'd rather see pictures of Osama's dead body, get those, that's news.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    July 18, 2011 1:40 p.m.

    Confidentiality clause?
    The medical professional in me is cringing.
    Hope nobody writes personal, private stuff about me.
    Wondering about a monetary exchange here.......

  • John Adams Miami, FL
    July 18, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many members of the Church know so little regaring Church doctrine.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 18, 2011 1:29 p.m.

    A story about an unrepentent, angry murderer changing his attitude before being put to death is simply not an interesting story, and certainly not a story worth telling. The lives of two people, and all of the joyful stories of family, personal accomplishment, service and love were cut-short and destroyed by this monster. Blaming his upbringing or detailing how he (maybe) gained some small bit of conscience will not replace the lost lives or the stories that never were.

    This story is not worth of this news organization.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    Appreciate the time required to write and bring about this story. For the good men willing to give of their time, for those bad men who, given the time, find a way to better their lives. God loves all of his children, even those who go astray. Fortunate for all, His judgment will be just and merciful.

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 18, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    A powerful story and great reporting. Imagine, a newspaper story that doesn't just regurgitate an AP line. AMAZING

    Thanks also for avoiding the politics and morality of the death penalty. Thanks Doug and DNEWS.

  • BH Tremonton, UT
    July 18, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    Sarah B:

    King David was a very unique situation, quite different from the case of Gardner. King David conspired to have a husband killed because of his own lust for the man's wife. Part of King David's harsh judgement from God was because he had been so blessed by the Lord, yet he gave it all up for lust.

    One should be careful not to take this one instance out of the Holy Scriptures as a measurement of the punishment of murder. There are so many other examples and teachings that must also be considered.

    In all the words of modern day LDS church leaders, the overwhelming teaching is that, there is only one unforgivable sin - denying the Holy Ghost.

    I have done a lot of scripture study and have come to only one sure conclusion about repentance and forgiveness for murder. And that is, it will be up to Christ to judge.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 18, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    @ Sarah B

    If that were true then all murderers would be Sons of Perdition. To enter even the Telestial Kingdom, one must be cleansed of all sin, and that requires the Blood of Christ.

  • Sarah B SLC, UT
    July 18, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. I understand that the Atonement pays for all sins except murder. I thought that a murderer like King David could repent and be forgiven but never receive exaltation. Doesn't the murderer have to pay the full price for their behavior instead of the Atonement making up the difference? I'd understood that was b/c restitution could never be made for wrongfully taking another's life.

  • Alaskan Ute Fairbanks, AK
    July 18, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    As someone who as seen the effects of horrific child abuse, I felt sympathy reading this article. Sympathy for the victims families, Mr. Garnder, and the Bishop. Mr. Gardner's character evolved long before the actual murders.

    With that said, Mr. Gardner got what he deserved, and I respect a Bishop who devoted hours away from his own family, helping Mr. Gardner understand the law of mercy and justice.

    I remember this terrible series of events, but this tiny ray of light in the end, will hopefully help some of us take something positive from the situation.

  • CWJ Layton, UT
    July 18, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    Prior to Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus, he was a persecutor of and condemned to death many of Christ's followers, but yet the Master himself found the good in Saul (Paul) and made him one of the greatest missionaries in Christiandom. If the Lord has that much mercy for Saul, could He not have an equal amount for Ronnie Lee Gardner? When Christ was on the cross, he freely forgave the robber that was crucified along Him. Yes, mercy cannot rob justice, but I do believe that the changes in a persons heart will be looked at favorably by the Lord at judgement and many people who we determine as unfit for mercy might be given more than we can comprehend. Let's let the Master judge and let us ask mercy for those who have transgressed.

    My wife's older brother was murdered a few years back and her family cannot forgive the murderer. They live with hatred and resentment and it festers in their souls like a deep sliver. Forgiveness is required of all of us. Period. The Lord will forgive whom he will forgive.

  • the_beav SLC, UT
    July 18, 2011 11:19 a.m.

    John Adams | 8:14 a.m. July 18, 2011
    Miami, FL

    Interesting comments by John Adams... To see these comments in context go to Mormon Doctrine pg 520

  • Laser Iowa City, IA
    July 18, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    Mr. Gardner was a murderer, however, thanks to an amazing Bishop he was more prepared for the next stage of life. There is no way we can determine what happens next but he has been taken home to that God who gave him life and he will be judge by the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead at the appropriate time. It is the best place for him to be, away from the harsh and judgmental world under the care of a loving God. I'm sure Mr. Gardner will pay the penalty for his own sins but it will be done according to God's system, not man. If this bishop can have so much compassion on Mr. Gardner while trying to help him reconcile, how much better will God be towards him.

    God bless this great Bishop.

  • ignoranceisbliss Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    Macnsmuck- Good try, but prisons do have kitchens, which is probably where the hot oil originated. Ronnie was not on death row when these incidents took place. Once again, if you are going to comment, please, read the whole article more than once so that you understand it. Clergy have the special privilege of being able to visit at the prisoners request when they are about to be put to death. Anyone who doubts this mans story obviously has not learned the act of forgiveness themselves and how dare you challenge this mans story. The correctional officers do what they can to make a death row inmate make peace with those they have wronged in life so that they might have peace in death. Ronnie was a part of the lives of everyone at that prison for 25 years that they were able to show him such compassion, shows me that Ronnie was a changed man and I pray he was shown mercy. Besides, if the families can find it in their hearts to forgive this man for taking the lives of their loved ones, we have not the right or reason to condemn him any further.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 18, 2011 10:27 a.m.

    @ John Adams, it sounds like you want to be the Judge.

  • lobez CENTERVILLE, UT
    July 18, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    It is amazing how professional criminals can pull the wool over so many people's eyes - I feel bad for Mr. Bradshaw and others that spend time with those who only know how to hurt and manipulate. Even though he spent a significant amount time with Mr. Gardner he wasn't there day-in and day-out. A person who served time and witnessed Mr. Gardner every day told me in a first hand account that he was pure evil - he treated those around him and those who had the job of keeping him alive with disdain, anger and hate. This article only made me think of the victims and their families - Gardner didn't deserve this notoriety...this was a step down for the DesNews.

  • Ghost Writer GILBERT, AZ
    July 18, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    What a profound story of ultimate love and forgiveness. "I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    July 18, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    Great article. One of the best DRob has ever written.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 18, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    @John Adams,

    There are several examples of prophets killing men in the scriptures. Moses killed an Egyptian. Nephi killed Laban. Elijah ordered the Priests of Baal to be killed, and consumed by fire several soldiers in the king's army. Saul/Paul may or may not have killed anyone, but at least indirectly lead to the deaths of several Christians before his conversion. I would be surprised to see any of these men in anything but the Celestial Kingdom.

    While murder is indeed heinous and vile, it is not always an open and closed case, and only the Mediator can know the hearts of the men that comitted these acts. Perhaps there are or were mitigating circumstances. I for one am glad I will be judged by Him and not by man.

    The Church does make provisions for murderers to receive baptism, but it does require approval from the First Presidency. That to me would imply that there can be some sort of forgiveness.

  • So. Cal Reader Escondido, CA
    July 18, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    A fascinating article and insight. Most powerful statement was "Mike's": "I accept your apology and I forgive you." Very, very powerful! Wish that I could be as strong and forgiving.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    July 18, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    Bishop Bradshaw is an example of what an LDS Bishop should be. Remember he does this without pay.

    Ronnie tried to avoid the execution but he faced it like a man. There is enough good in God to forgive and let his grace act.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    July 18, 2011 9:44 a.m.

    A relative of mine also had the opportunity to serve those in jail. It is amazing what learning goes on and the spirit that is there as people learn of the Savior and His atonement for each of us. I appreciated this article and saw so many similarities in this bishop's experience and that of my uncle's. In the end, we are called to minister to those in need, help them find relief and leave the judgment to higher powers. But if this experience can help someone not yet caught in the web, it is a good thing to publish and read. And I did learn - that in actuality I know very little and rely on the Savior for His love and compassion. So forth and serve others.

  • catcrazed Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 18, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    How very touching an account. Thank you for your insights, Bishop Bradshaw. May God comfort you as well as your family. Thanks for your service.

  • John Adams Miami, FL
    July 18, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    Read the scriptures folks, they came from the Judge.

  • Amelia P. Herriman, UT
    July 18, 2011 9:22 a.m.

    Apparently I was so emotional, I could not add commas where needed, and also was a little ungrammatical. Sorry.

  • Amelia P. Herriman, UT
    July 18, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    I just finished reading this article and I feel very emotional. I still agree with capital punishment, as I think dying is a mercy when one has committed terrible sins. I for one am not afraid to die except to be parted from my loved ones for a time. I also feel that our taxes paying to house people who will never be able to get out and live a quality life is a waste. Ronnie Gardner is much happier where he is than he would have been living life in prison. I feel that I learned quite a bit from this and how we are all given a different lot in life and some people have it much harder than others. I am glad that it will be Christ judging us by our hearts. I cried when I read about the blessing he was given. Isn't it amazing how much God loves all of us so much. I am grateful.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    July 18, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    Walt Nicholes |
    "Gardiner was wise to let his own blood be shed."

    Are you nuts? Killing is wrong, whether by the State or an individual.

  • JoeBA Pleasant Grove, ut
    July 18, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    Walt Nicholes--I am sorry, but shedding his blood does not in any way account for his sins, if that's what you're getting at. The only blood that was shed that is at all cleansing is Christ's, and that is that. I am afraid that this quote of yours would only perpetuate beliefs of others that mormons believe (whether you yourself are mormon or not--this is the deseret news and everyone makes assumptions) things that they in fact do not, according to the doctrine of the church.

  • JoeBA Pleasant Grove, ut
    July 18, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    John Adams--if King Lamoni, and men like John Calvin can be forgiven for unjust executions, then let's be a little more forgiving.

  • Macn'smuck Pleasant Grove, Utah
    July 18, 2011 8:48 a.m.

    If this happened, and I doubt most of these incidents did, it has many flaws, inmates on death row are locked down 23 hours a day and with no contact between inmates, you get to shower or walk in a cage, but talking to other inmates, ain't gonna happen. No access to hot oil, wax and the water is never hot enough to hurt anyone, bunch of malarchy. This is real life, not the movies. Get all these ideas out of your head.

  • Quayle Dallas, TX
    July 18, 2011 8:46 a.m.

    "...he is outside the pale of redeeming grace"

    Given that, as the Book of Mormon says, the atonement is infinite and eternal, I don't believe that anything can be 'outside' of it.

    And as for D&C 42:79, since the word is 'kill' and not 'murder', then I suppose, by your reading of scripture, that Ronnie's executioners are also "outside the pale of redeeming grace," because they clearly killed Ronnie.

  • johnnyboy Coeur D Alene, ID
    July 18, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    A really good article.thank you for it....a real blessing in my life at this time...will not go into it but real close to home................thanks again

  • Walt Nicholes Orem, UT
    July 18, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    Gardiner was wise to let his own blood be shed.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    July 18, 2011 8:40 a.m.

    I personally don't find anything redeeming where Ronnie Lee Gardner is concerned.

  • Chad S Derby, KS
    July 18, 2011 8:40 a.m.

    Mark 2:17.

    I hope the families of the victims found peace somehow. This was a great two-part story.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 18, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    @ John Adams,

    Why don't we let the Eternal Judge determine where he is?

  • John Adams Miami, FL
    July 18, 2011 8:14 a.m.

    "May God bless Brother Gardner now that he is with Him."

    With all due respect, Gardner is not with Him.

    "'Thou shalt not kill.' (Ex. 20:13.) 'Thou shalt do no murder.' (Matt. 19:18.) Murder, the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought or under such circumstances of criminality that the malice is presumed, 'is a sin unto death' (1 John 5:16-17), a sin for which there is 'no forgiveness' (D&C 42:79), meaning that a murderer can never gain salvation. 'No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.' (1 John 3:15.) He cannot join the Church by baptism; he is outside the pale of redeeming grace.

    Mr. Garnder is in spirit prison awaiting the resurrection of the unjust.

  • Lone Star Cougar Plano, TX
    July 18, 2011 7:52 a.m.

    Excellent article. May God bless Brother Gardner now that he is with Him. May God please bring peace to the victims' families.

  • Sgt.Schltz Logan, ut
    July 18, 2011 7:48 a.m.

    I was given a great opportunity to teach Priesthood lessons to prisoners in our local jail. Every time I taught the lesson the Spirit filled our hearts and minds. I truly believe that the Lord walks the hallways of jails and prisons offering his peace to all who are humble and repentant. He loves all people regardless of our stature or circumstances. Peace is His to give and His to take away.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 18, 2011 7:29 a.m.

    Murderers obviously should be punished. But capital punishment should not be the way to do it. I've come to that conclusion over the years and with a lot of thought. I respect other views, but mine is that capital punishment is wrong for several reasons.

  • Quayle Dallas, TX
    July 18, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    So here is a little personal test: do I want - do you want - Ronnie to be forgiven and washed clean, or do we secretly hope that he'll get what he deserves?

    I well remember President Faust saying in conference, "I don't know about you, brethren, but I don't pray for justice, I pray for mercy."

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    July 18, 2011 7:09 a.m.

    Powerful reporting of the events leading to R. Gardner's execution. Well said and heartfelt. Compassionate and in perspective. Thank you Doug for bringing this to light so we can better understand Gardner and particularly his attempts to reconcile. Appropriate and well done.

  • Pawps Sandy, Utah
    July 18, 2011 7:07 a.m.

    RE; JWDixonizer/ "I don't think it iss appropriate for clergy to be sharing what people, even the deceased, share with them without express permission."

    Keep reading, 2nd page.

    He said (Gardner) he feels good that he has had a bishop to "open up to." He gave me permission to use my notes and our conversations in any way I think might be of value to someone.

  • coachcarter West Valley City, UT
    July 18, 2011 7:04 a.m.

    JWD, did you even read the stories? In both part one and two, it states that RLG had asked that his story be told so that it might help people who are struggling and who are headed down the same path as he went.

  • RBN Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2011 6:42 a.m.

    In the column, the Bishop states, "He gave me permission to use my notes and our conversations in any way I think might be of value to someone."

  • RSD Pepperell, MA
    July 18, 2011 6:34 a.m.

    This was a fantastic two-part article. Thank you. rsd

  • Rob Logan, UT
    July 18, 2011 6:30 a.m.

    Maybe this will help someone not go down this path.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    July 18, 2011 6:15 a.m.

    JWDixoniser, I would agree totally with you. If you read the article completely, you will see that Mr Gardner did give express permission. As an ex LDS Bishop of two terms, I heard things that I will carry to my grave, and would never dream of revealing them. If given permission to do so, and if I prayerfully thought it would help someone, then I would do so.

    If this was printed to sensationalise the latter days of Mr Gardner's life, it would be extremely wrong, but I personally do not come away with that feeling after reading it. I read of a man who has committed heinous crimes, and has taken the life of two innocent men, but who, with help from a sincere minister has come to a realisation of his crime, and feels genuine remorse. I also feel that he came to know that by hearing of his life, he may prevent another young man, or men, of going down that same path. Surely that is a worthwile reason for printing it in the form that we have read.

    As far as forgiveness for Mr Gardner, the Lord will decide that. He is the sole Judge.

  • WPLyon NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    July 18, 2011 6:08 a.m.

    Mr. Gardner apparently made it pretty clear to Bishop Bradshaw that he wanted his story told for many reasons. Being an old bishop I respect privacy and those things that are never shared, but in this matter with RLG it is much different and I appreciate Bp. Bradshaw and Mr. Robinson for putting it in the newspaper. Thank you Bishop Bradshaw!

  • hask Chino Hills, CA
    July 18, 2011 5:36 a.m.

    @JWDixonizer

    Did you read the news article? Here is a quote from the story: "He gave me permission to use my notes and our conversations in any way I think might be of value to someone."

    AS for me, I found the story to be riveting. I am inspired by the idea that even the worst people can change. My sister was incarcerated in Draper for many years, and I saw tremendous changes in her.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    July 18, 2011 5:17 a.m.

    He did have Gardner's express permission and encouragement to share it publicly. Why do people write without carefully reading first?

  • ER in EUR Belgrade, Serbia
    July 18, 2011 4:17 a.m.

    Geez, PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE before commenting. Gardner asked that the Bishop share it in an appropriate way that may have an impact on other persons that if by hearing it or reading it they might make a change that could avoid anything like what Gardner did, or the pain he caused. It was mentioned several times. I know the atricle is long and you may not like to read, but unless you read it please refrain from commenting.

  • scotsman Logan, UT
    July 18, 2011 1:33 a.m.

    @ JWDixonier

    The deceased asked Mr. Bradshaw to let people know he was remorseful. How else is he supposed to do so unless through some sort of media. A very sad story but not because express permission was missing.

  • JWDixonizer SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 18, 2011 12:51 a.m.

    I don't think it iss appropriate for clergy to be sharing what people, even the deceased, share with them without express permission. Similarly, I don't think it's appropriate for journalists and publications to *seek* such stories where no permission exists. Unethical on both parts.